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Muscles, Fat, Strength, Endurance, Good Looks....What are your Goals?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

So yesterday was leg day, my heavy ST day for legs and back. I was pretty freaking amazed to be able to squat 4 sets of 5 reps with 250 lbs on my back....straight up and down with no wobble. Deadlifts, while also heavy (3 sets of 5 at 315 lbs) were less graceful. Yeah I pulled the bar off the floor, but trainer-guy and I both agreed I looked like a drunk monkey flailing in quicksand....not smooth, not graceful....we'll stay at that weight for next time.

This AM, I'm sore, sore, sore doing the Zombie Walk as I putz around with my morning coffee (I'm keeping an eye out for Daryl Dixon in case I get a crossbow arrow in the forehead)

In between sets, trainer guy and I chatted up a couple of the 20-something gym rats. The preponderance of their statements were, "I'm eating 4 to 5,000 calories a day and I can't gain any weight"

I'm rocking on my heels listening to these monkeys, wondering how the hell I can eat 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day and not drop a pound. I felt like pulling a 3 stooges move on all of them

"WTF are you talking about? I've been working my ass off for months and can't get below 180 lbs, eating 2,000 cals/day"

I get the contemplative look that only 20-somethings can give to grown adults as they exercise great patience, attempting to pass on their deep knowledge and profound understanding to an out of touch generation who is unable to google the latest research.

"Yeah, well you really need to eat more if you want to put on muscle mass. I'm trying to bulk up"

I gave him my contemplative look that only 50-somethings can give to post-pubescent gym rats, as I exercise great patience, attempting to hold his attention on a topic other than himself for more than a minute. I decided to use my ninja conversational skills to re-direct his infatuation with self to solving my problem.

"OK, let's say you bulk up, and you then want to drop the fat to get cut. How do you do it?" (Always learn to speak the language of the natives, whether you're traveling in a foreign country or hanging out with meatheads)

"Oh, I start doing a lot more cardio and drop out all the carbs"

Now I think we're getting somewhere, but then trainer guy gives a nod over to the curl bar indicating we've talked enough, back to work.

"What the hell am I missing here? How can those morons have such a tough time gaining weight eating like rabid dogs, and I can't drop a pound eating like a normal person"

Trainer guy gives me that look he must have used in the Stasi interrogation rooms a million times as he elicited confessions from the innocent. In his thick German accent he just said, "He is 20. You are 50"

"Thanks Captain Obvious, so what the f#&@ does that mean?"

"What are your goals?"

See what I mean, just when I think I'm getting somewhere, the freaking Stasi interrogator switches it up. He might as well have asked me where the rebel bases are located.

"I'd like to be lean and strong" There, that ought to show him.

"Do you want to lift the heavy weights like we have been doing? If you get lean, you will not just lose fat, you will lose muscle too, it is inevitable (it sounded more like enough-a-double). Your lifting will suffer. What are your goals?"

He was like Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man with that same line, "What are your goals? Is it safe"

"Well, I like lifting heavy weights. I like being strong, I like my progress. But I wouldn't mind being 10 lbs lighter....10 lbs of fat that is, I don't want my lifting to suffer"

"You can't have both (it sounded like "U kent hev boat"). It is a myth that these kids think they can lose weight and keep their strength. When they drop weight, they look leaner, but their strength suffers. Then they eat more to get strong, and the leanness disappears. How iz your cardio?"

"I get in about an hour a day, 3 times a week, then you and I lift 3 other days"

"You need to do more. If you want to lose fat, you must do more cardio"

"You're F*@%# bagging me right! You're telling me I need to work out more?!?!?!" I felt like showing him my SP fitness tracker, but it would have been lost on him

"If you want to lose fat, you must do more cardio. Do you want to look strong or be strong? What are your goals?" He just stared me down like Arnold in Terminator.

"So what the hell am I supposed to do, cardio before we lift? Doesn't all this lifting count as cardio? I'm sweating like a racehorse in here"

"Strength Training is not cardio. Better to do cardio after you lift. Finish your last set"

So here I am, 53-years old, 184 lbs, rock-solid muscles in my back, chest, shoulders and legs like I have never had before, a 33 inch waist, pretty damn good endurance for high intensity cardio....and I'm kind of complaining on the margins about my last 10 lbs or trying to drop below 20%'s a good problem to have.

I just need to figure out what my goals are!

Have a great day Spark friends!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog. Made me giggle as usual.

    "cutting phase" is not possible to maintain long term from what I've seen on other blogs and pages. Check out NANCYANNE55 page.

    I think you are letting the scale dictate your goals.

    Ditch it. The extra cortisol you are generating from your love/hate relationship is probably enough in your dotage to keep you in the same place.

    JMHO emoticon

    p.s. You know I'm kidding about the dotage, right?

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    1651 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 8:54:54 AM
    This blog just made my day--Additionally, I'm not sure how you are making it on 2k a day when you are working out like you do; I would be eating my own hand! I eat 1500 on lifting days, and I'm 5"4; 118 lbs (and I'm hungry!).
    1651 days ago
    Not to sound like the meatheads, but...

    You're only eating 2000 calories per day!? How are you even alive??? Maybe you need to eat more! I eat 1800-2000 calories per day, and I'm 31 and I've had a kid. Oh, and female. And I'm not lifting like you lift, and I'm not doing a bunch of cardio. And I weigh a bit less, too.

    If what you're doing isn't working - stop doing it! If you gain a little fat, then just go back to what you were doing before and it will come back off... But I think you are slowing down your metabolism and that's why you're not losing more body fat. It takes A LOT of energy to fuel all that muscle you're talking about, PLUS you do all that cardio, plus you're trying to build MORE muscle... I think your body is hanging on to that last bit of fat for dear life. And if you do more cardio, you may as well be eating less. One way or another, your body isn't getting enough food.
    1653 days ago
    Great Blog! Sorry you can not eat anymore like the 20 something guys at the gym. If it is of any consolation I am mid 30s and can not loose weight with 2000 calories either.
    So stasi trainer wants to know: "Was ist dein Ziel?" Good thing to think of in general - looks, strength, endurance, health? What's the main goal?
    1653 days ago
    Gunther is wise, no? Harsh, but wise.
    1654 days ago
    Great blog! I can hear the whole conversation through your voices! My goals are to be healthy and look ok in a bathing suit, but I hadn't given it more thought than that. After reading this I will.
    1654 days ago
    Oh, I love the voices in your blog! You (and Daryl) just made my day.
    1654 days ago
    I lurk on bodybuilder forums trying to figure out how they can freaking change their body to all different shapes and sizes. What I've read is that they eat insane amount of food (particularly protein) when they build muscle. During the 'cutting' phase, they drop carbs to almost zero (veggies and limited fruit only - sounds familiar, eh?). They continue to lift, but at a maintenance phase intended to keep the strength they have - use it or lose it. Then they add a small amount of cardio - HIIT is an all around favorite - short bursts and sprinting. But cardio is catabolic, so endurance cardio is avoided.

    But yeah, what I've read is that it's not really possible to bulk up and trim down at the same time. You can when starting out, but we all run into the metabolic adaption where our bodies will change our BMR to match our intake and expenditure. That's why I am currently cycling between active-less active, higher carb-low carb, etc.
    1654 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/6/2013 12:18:15 PM
  • BOB240
    Part of the problem is that once you get to our "shape" then targets stop being visible. At 20% body fat and 190 you look the same at 15% body fat at 190 - as long as it's a good suit..

    It does seem to be all about numbers.. we aint going to make the Olympics (except maybe in archery) all we can hope for is to marginally reverse the effects of aging through a knowledge of our own physical prowes and thereby improve quality of life..

    But by god it's hard.. If I did nothing for six months aside from eat OK I'm not sure I'd look much different - and that is the biggest threat to long term "maintenance" - it's so easy to slip

    And what reallt stinks is what you experince about food..... at our age we just can't's not fair. I eat one lousy doughnut I put on ten pounds...doughnuts don't even weigh ten pounds!!

    I think we need a Zombie apocalyse - I'm about ready for one..
    1654 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/6/2013 11:53:18 AM
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